A lot of you are probably sick of hearing about Digitiser Live, so we won't go on about it much more. But! C'mon. After 18 months of wretched life-slog, some of us needed it. From the performers and backstage crew, to the guests, to audience, to the venue, it was a release. Pure catharsis, wrapped up in a big "silly".
If you didn't make it, we'll find a way for you to see it. And we'll do another. Promise.
It's weird. I know I say this a lot, but we're not a huge YouTube channel, and we seem to be growing at a glacial rate. By which I mean... shrinking intermittently.
Yes, Digitiser has been around a long time, but all logic indicates that we shouldn't be able to do a show like that. We shouldn't be able to sell out a venue of that size, with such an enthusiastic audience. We shouldn't be able to get other creators that we admire, with far, far bigger audiences than ours, to take part. And yet... something about whatever the heck it is that we do resonates enough that we can.
Imagine if we had a million subscribers! We'd be doing Digi Live at Wembley Stadium.
Anyway... we started to receive letters from many of you the day after Digi Live, so we thought a Friday Letters Page would be in order. And here? Why, here is that Friday Letters Page of which I just done mentioned. Clac-clac-clac-clac-a-claccer. Claclaclac.
What a year-and-a-bit it has been. Since the last Digi Live happened, Sanja and I almost died in a car accident, the world was hit by a global pandemic, Donald Trump was ousted, and Digi Live 2.0 got postponed.
It's official, kids: we’re less than a month from a brand new Digitiser Live show…!
We’ve all been waiting a long time for this, and we’re working hard to ensure that wait will have been worth it. The show is bigger, madder, safer, and more ambitious than the first one. The time has come for the official Digi Live 2.0. FAQ!
Read on for this aforementioned thing.
Hello. Blimey. Been a while, eh? Bean a while. Do you see? Do you, though?
What a year.
In case you missed it, Digi Live got postponed (more on that shortly).
Sanja and I launched a podcast.
We got Covid.
We made a whole bunch of YouTube videos. Sanja became a proper part of the channel. And then we got together with our mates again.
And then we got the okay to go ahead with Digi Live.
Oh, and yeah... we've decided to do a second series of Digitiser The Show, with video games and everything.
So, I thought it was long overdue that I gave those of you who aren't Patrons some insight into what is happening, what has been happening, and why...
Hello! Well, it has been a while, but if you're one of my Patrons, you'll know that something I have felt was missing over the past year was a sense of the Digi community. It feels like we've all splintered off into our own greasy bubbles, and that's a real big shame. Not so long ago, we were one swollen and happy family, but then idiots started being idiots, and it ruined things a bit. No more! This Letters Page is to remind all of us that we're all still out there, all inhabitants of Digi's Nude Village, and that next year - hopefully - we'll all come together again for Digi Live 2.0.
Be friends. Reach out. Make peace with those you've upset, or been upset by. Engage, and remember we're stronger together. Also: nuder together. Nuh... n... NUDES!
So, the Friday Letters Page is back. It won't be every Friday, but we'll make sure we keep doing them from time to time. We'll get another one in before Christmas.
I know a lot of you miss my written stuff, but after the past couple of years, where I was getting severely burnt out, I needed some time away from it (though I still write blogs on my Patreon page). Not writing on here this year has afforded me more time to be creative in other ways. Never say never, but hopefully you've enjoyed some of the other stuff I've done over the past 12 months.
The final two eps of Lost Footage were, I'd argue, something very special, and I'm very proud of how our podcast is turning out. And the Digi Halloween Special has been another highlight.
For me, it has all been incredibly creatively fulfilling. So, big-ups to those who have supported it. You can too, via my Patreon. Candidly, I could do with the money, as I don't have the extra cash these days to plough back into my various creative nonsenses.
One last thing. It's not much of a tribute, but this letters page is dedicated to Gaming Mill, who we sadly lost earlier this year. No, that isn't a joke. It just would feel wrong not to mention him here, as he was such a regular fixture on this page over the years, even if his letters became increasingly sporadic, as his health worsened. I can't say I knew him well, yet he was an important part of the Digi Community, and he had - one way or another - been in my orbit since the mid-00s. He was a true eccentric, and I admit... when it came to putting this page together, I felt his absence. RIP.
Let's do letters! Send one in for next time: firstname.lastname@example.org
Have you seen these comedy dinner shows they do? Basically, it's a sort of chicken-in-a-basket night, where actors flail around the diners pretending to be characters from classic sitcoms; Fawlty Towers, Only Fools And Horses, 'Allo 'Allo, and - Thor help us - Mrs Brown's Boys.
Familiar costumes and catchphrases appear in lieu of anything approaching actual creativity, the actors looking slightly off, but not so off as to be completely jarring - so long as you squint. It's warm and familiar, and audiences laugh out of recognition, because some people are sufficiently stupid for that to be enough.
Anyway, that's what Marvel's Avengers kind of reminded me of. It's Marvel's Avengers: The Comedy Dinner Show.
"Don't mention The Infinity War! I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it."
Except here you have to pay extra if you want Iron Man to do that bit where he falls through the bar.
Ghost of Tsushima is the PS4's last big honk, its final big platform exclusive, discharging into our laps a month or so after the penultimate big platform exclusive, The Last of Us Part 2.
To say I enjoyed TLoU2 would be an understatement. It would also be inaccurate. I mean, it's the most miserable video game ever made. I don't think anybody could actually enjoy that amount of relentless anguish and anxiety. It was like being strapped into a gnarly chair, with your eyes forced open by a couple of uncomfortable metal hooks, while Twitter scrolls in front of you on a big screen.
Also: the room is full of hungry rats. And you're not wearing shoes or trousers.
It probably didn't help that I binged it in three days, by the end of which I emerged bow-legged from its unrelenting emotional pounding. That isn't a criticism; it just shows you how effective The Last of Us 2 was at making me feel stuff. In my view, there's no doubt it's one of the greatest video games ever made, its lustre dimmed only by the radicalism of bigots.
While I accept it may have driven its development team to near collapse, it doesn't so much raise the bar for the right way to achieve video game storytelling and characterisation as strap it to a rocket it and fire it into the moon.
Tsushima, therefore, had a tough act to follow. Regardless, there's no bar-raising here; they keep it firmly on the ground, surrounded by all the predictable comforts we've grown accustomed to. For a game so full of horses, it is perhaps understandable that it did so little to scare them.
Whereas TLoU2 had a story that could never be easily summarised in a single sentence, Tsushima can be encapsulated thus: a samurai man does some things, because the Mongols have invaded the pretty island where he lives.
Wait. Two sentences: sometimes he gets a new hat!
And you sometimes see his bare bum.
Three sentences, then.
A massive thank you to everyone who has backed me on Patreon in the last couple of days. With everything going on, I hadn't expected that at all, but having received the news that one of the kids' shows I was working on has now shut down... it is really going to help get me through the next few months, and I'll keep the backer exclusives coming.
Some of you have asked if I have a Ko-Fi account. I didn't... but I do now!
If you want to buy me a coffee or three (though let's face it, the money will probably go on barbed wire, animal skulls and spiked shoulder pads), you can do so here: BUY MR BIFFO A KO-FI THAT HE CAN SPEND ON BULK-BUYING TOILET PAPER.
You might've noticed I've been upping my creative output a bit over the past week on Twitter and our Instagram page (generally run by Sanja). We've an new IGTV series on there which we're calling Mr Biffo's Found Footage, which isolates the cutaways from the Digitiser Deluxe eps. There might even be some extra little bits that don't fit onto YouTube.
Please follow and share them if you can. And likewise, please share the stuff from the YouTube channel to anyone who might need a chuckle in this era of isolation. We've plenty more coming your way in the weeks and months to come.
Stay safe out there, stay indoors as much as you can, and don't go mental in the supermarket.
We'll try to keep up with regular Friday Letters Pages for the duration of this nonsense, so keep sending your emails to this place here: email@example.com
Hello all. I started out with the intention of this blog being a higher tier Patreon exclusive, but we're all in this together, and while we're being locked away... we don't have to be completely shut off.
Rest assured, all Patrons will continue getting the videos early, and the higher tier gang will hopefully be getting some exclusive video content over the next week. I'm going to scour the hard drives for whatever I might have that we never used.
I think I said already that I kind of want to do some rough-and-ready videos with Sanja alongside our regular ones. No idea what they might entail, and I've not ruled out doing a live stream either. Luckily, Gannon lives near me, so - providing neither of us have symptoms in the next week or so - we can get together to film some regular videos too.
I'm going to need that.
It's weird, but I had a phone meeting yesterday about work, and it really, really helped me to be focusing on that for an hour, and not thinking about everything else that's going on. Working this week has been such a challenge, as I keep checking the news every five seconds. It was nice to feel, even if it'll be proved futile, that some part of life is carrying on as normal.
I was going to write something on Patreon today about what we're all living through - it's where I do most of my blogs now - but I thought it might, possibly, be more helpful to make this one public.
My situation is no different from billions of others around the world. I've no greater insight than any of you may have into what's happening. I'm hardly unique in struggling to process the scale and seriousness of the pandemic.
I'm not alone in being worried about money. TV and film productions are shutting down all over the world. I'm still working for now - or trying to - but 50% of the income I was banking on this year depends on the shows actually getting made. Apparently, it's currently hard for productions to get insurance. The knife-edge of freelance life. Again, I'm hardly the only one suffering that uncertainty.
I've got a daughter who was due to get married in May. Whether that can still go ahead in some form is anybody's guess. I've got another daughter and a step-daughter in isolation right now. Neither of them live with me, but the common denominator between both is that they are quite social, and work with the public.
They're young. They'll get over it. That is, even if it is IT...
With testing now only being available to those with severe symptoms, and celebrities, they won't know for certain if they've ever actually had the coronavirus.
For me, it's more a signifier of how fast and far this has now spread, and how inadequate the government's response has been. Both my local hospitals have had deaths. Another of my daughter's schools has had confirmed cases (yet remains open)...
Most worryingly, I've got parents in their 80s. My mum has COPD and assorted other serious ailments, my dad had a stroke and a heart attack 18 months or so ago. It's them I'm really concerned for. I'm worried about what sort of care will be available to them when the NHS starts to collapse under the weight of all this.
And, of course, there's no end in sight to any of it. The most likely scenario that I can see happening is a pattern of lockdowns, followed by periods where we're all allowed out again, followed by another lockdown. And that this will continue until whenever it is they can distribute a vaccine. Realistically, we're a minimum of a year away from that.
Making sandwiches, shaving, and giving a makeover - simple tasks that Eli Silverman (Barshens, Cheapshow) and Paul Gannon must perform while wearing upside-down glasses... all to please our king, Ash Frith. The loser has to eat a 100 year-old century egg!
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